Born between 1946 and 1964, Baby Boomers have a number of particular wants and needs for the Baby Boomer office.
The Baby Boomers Generation
Baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. The oldest the 79 million Baby Boomers reached age 65 in 2011 and the youngest will get there by 2029.
Following World War II, the average age of marriage dropped, and the number of children increased dramatically, making the Baby Boomer generation substantially larger than the Traditionalists. Conveniently, this population explosion corresponded with a post-war economic boom (aided by the G.I. Bill and the growth of consumer suburbs).
But in the early years of the boom, schools were overcrowded, colleges didn’t have enough seats, and competition for starting jobs was intense. As a result, the young Baby Boomers learned to compete for resources and success.
Baby Boomer Characteristics
- Focused and work centered: Baby boomers are likely to be in the office to work. They’ll be generally focused on the job, and won’t usually value friends in the office or building relationships above getting the job done. The “workaholic generation” has a perspective that “paying your dues” is an expected, natural part of working in the office, and won’t generally yield leadership positions to younger workers.
- Goal driven: Baby Boomers like clear-cut, black and white goals to work toward. With increased educational and financial opportunities than previous generations, Baby Boomers like challenging, fulfilling projects that help them feel they’re making a difference.
- Position oriented: Baby Boomers are competitive, and they want to win. Hierarchical structures and clear chains of command are important to them, and they value certainty in interactions in the office. They may have a hard time adjusting to trends toward greater flexibility in the work place (all aspects of flexibility).
- Self-starters: Baby Boomers don’t value conformity, and they don’t generally place value on the “way we’ve always done things.” Give them a project, and they’ll be focused on trying to make it work, whether it’s something brand new or something they’ve done dozens of times.